Programmatic Advertising
Author: Anete Jodzevica 24 minute read
#Ad Monetization #Programmatic Advertising #Website Monetization
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10 Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Publishers in 2024

Programmatic advertising is a significant evolution from traditional ad buying. Facilitated by RTB technology, programmatic advertising allows for real-time automated, data-driven ad purchasing. It simply leverages user data and behavior patterns for more efficient and precise ad placements on a large scale.  

Explore the top 10 programmatic advertising platforms for 2024 in our guide! Dive into the essentials of programmatic advertising and discover how partnering with the right platform can elevate your ad revenue and website performance.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of digital ad space. However, most industry professionals consider this concept the automated buying and selling of data-targeted media.

Data distinguishes these two definitions. Programmatic advertising now depends on adding data like ad performance, target audiences, and cross-domain behavioral data.

Before programmatic advertising, all the ordering, setting up, and reporting had to be done manually. These human negotiations and predefined prices required more time and resources. Now, programmatic advertising uses AI and machine learning to facilitate real-time buying and selling of ads. 

Key Players in the Programmatic Advertising Environment

Demand-side platforms (DSPs)

Demand-side platforms allow advertisers to buy ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges through one interface. They streamline ad purchasing, targeting, and optimization for advertisers and indirectly benefit publishers by increasing demand for their inventory.

  • For example: MediaMath, Xandr.

How do DSPs work? 

DSPs automate the bidding process for ad space across various publishers. They use data and algorithms to select the best ad impressions at the most efficient prices. DSPs also allow advertisers to set ad creatives from a single interface, manage and optimize bids, and target audiences.

Supply-side platforms (SSPs)

Supply-side platforms enable publishers to sell ad space to advertisers programmatically. The main benefit for publishers is that they help to maximize revenue by efficiently selling their ad space at optimal prices.

  • For example: Criteo, OpenX.

How do SSPs work? 

SSPs connect publishers with a global pool of advertisers, managing the sale of ad inventory through automated auctions. Simply put, supply-side platforms allow publishers to run an RTB auction, serve the ads, evaluate the bids, and set the bidding range (price floors). 

Data management platforms (DMPs)

Data management platforms collect, organize, and activate audience data from various sources. With the help of DMPs, publishers can better understand and segment their audience, leading to more valuable ad inventory and higher revenues.

  • For example: TheTradeDesk, Salesforce Audience Studio.

How do DMPs work?

DMPs analyze data to create detailed audience segments for targeted advertising.

Ad exchanges

Ad exchanges are digital marketplaces for buying and selling ad inventory across multiple parties. They provide publishers with a transparent and efficient way to sell ad space to the highest bidder. 

  • For example: Xandr, PubMatic.

How do ad exchanges work?

Ad exchanges facilitate RTB auctions, connecting advertisers and publishers. Publishers make their ad inventories available through ad exchanges, while advertisers purchase them via real-time bidding (RTB). 

Ad networks

Ad networks collect ad inventory from publishers to sell to advertisers. They offer publishers access to a wider range of advertisers, potentially increasing ad revenue.

  • For example: Setupad, Mediavine

How do ad networks work?

Ad networks bundle ad space and sell it to advertisers, often specializing in specific types of inventory or audiences.

Consent management platforms (CMPs)

A CMP is a technology used by website owners to collect data from users. It complies with handling users’ personal information, such as meeting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and IAB Europe’s TCF.

  • For example: Setupad CMP, Cookiebot

How do CMPs work?

CMPs help publishers to capture and store user consent efficiently.

Identity resolution platforms

Identity resolution platforms help advertisers target users across devices and channels by identifying and matching user identities. Publishers can offer advertisers more accurate targeting options, improving ad relevance and value.

  • For example: LiveRamp

How do identity resolution platforms work?

Identity resolution platforms use data and technology to create a unified view of an individual user across different touchpoints.

Verification and measurement vendors

Verification and measurement vendors verify ad viewability, fraud prevention, and measure ad performance. They ensure the integrity of ad placements, helping publishers maintain a high-quality ad environment and build trust with advertisers.

  • For example: DoubleVerify

How do verification and measurement vendors work? 

Verification and measurement vendors provide tools and reports assessing ad impression quality and effectiveness.

How Does the Programmatic Auction Work?

It can seem like a complex concept if you’re new to programmatic advertising. To simplify it, let’s examine different processes within the programmatic auction.

  • How does the targeting process work? 

When a user visits a website, the publisher’s platform offers the available ad space in an auction. Simultaneously, a DSP uses the user’s activity data to identify suitable ads.

  • How does the bidding process work? 

The DSP rapidly assesses the value of the ad impression to the advertiser and places a bid in milliseconds based on comprehensive data analysis.

  • How does the ad serving process work? 

The highest bid secures the ad space, and the winning advertiser’s ad is immediately displayed to the user.

  • How does the optimization process work? 

Advertisers collect data from each ad impression to refine their bidding strategies and targeting and enhance their performance in future auctions.

How programmatic advertising works?

Now that you understand what happens in the programmatic auction and who are the key players in this environment, we can examine the advertising process more deeply. 

Here are 6 steps that simplify how programmatic advertising works:

  1. The publisher lists available ad space on an ad exchange using an SSP.
  1. A publisher’s website contains a pixel that sends data to a DMP about the website, the user, and the ad space.
  1. In the meantime, an advertiser configures their ads’ targeting and budget parameters using a DSP.
  1. To find inventory on the ad exchange that best suits the advertiser’s needs, the DSP connects with the DMP. Then a request is sent to the auction.
  1. The ad exchange selects an ad to match with each impression opportunity using algorithmic software.
  1. To display the ad to the user on the publisher’s website, the DSP sends it to the SSP.

Programmatic Advertising Models: RTB, PMP, and Programmatic Direct

RTBPMPProgrammatic Direct
What is it?An automated process where ad impressions are bid on in real-time as a user visits a website. An invitation-only marketplace where selected advertisers can bid on or buy inventory directly from the publisher.A direct agreement between a publisher and an advertiser where terms, including price and inventory, are negotiated upfront.
How does it work?Publishers make inventory available on ad exchanges, and advertisers bid on it based on real-time data. The highest bidder wins the ad space.It offers publishers more control over who can purchase the ad space, ensuring quality advertisers and potentially higher revenue for premium inventory.The inventory is sold at a fixed price, and the ad space is guaranteed to the advertiser.
ProsEnables efficient and dynamic pricing, maximizing revenue by selling to the highest bidder.Provides higher control and premium pricing options, and more transparency between publishers and advertisers.Offers stable revenue and control over ad inventory, with personalized agreements and guaranteed buys.
ConsPublishers have less control over who buys the ad space, which can lead to lower-quality ads.Limited to invited advertisers, potentially missing out on broader market demand.Less flexibility compared to auction-based models and potentially lower revenue if the fixed prices are below market rates.

The Benefits of Programmatic Advertising for Publishers

Maximizing revenue through automated ad sales

Programmatic advertising’s automation allows publishers to fill their inventory at optimal prices without the extensive manual effort typically involved in direct sales. Since programmatic campaigns enable the measurement of ad results in real-time, it’s easy to pinpoint which tactics drive the most revenue.

For instance, you might see that interstitial ads drive more CTRs than banner ads. 

Publishers can test different types of ads, platforms, and more to see what engages their audience. Based on that information, they can further optimize their advertising strategy. This allows them to focus their resources on the strategies that drive the best results, earning a higher ROI. 

Enhancing audience targeting and personalization

Programmatic advertising stands out with its precise targeting capabilities and the ability to personalize ad experience. Ads can be tailored to individual user preferences, interests, and behaviors. 

Such precise targeting results in a more engaging and effective advertising strategy, which can also strengthen the connection between brands and their target audiences. 

Here’s a breakdown of the most common targeting methods:

  • Contextual targeting–places ads on sites relevant to the ad’s content, ensuring that the audience is already interested in similar topics.
  • Behavioral targeting–focuses on users’ actions to display ads that resonate with their recent behaviors, potentially moving them toward a purchase they were considering.
  • Location targeting (geo-targeting)–delivers ads to users based on their geographical location, making the content highly relevant to their regional or local context.
  • Device targeting–reaches users across different devices, facilitating an omnichannel approach that can follow and engage users whether on a smartphone, tablet, desktop, or connected TV.

Additionally, marketers can ensure consistent, personalized messaging by creating detailed buyer personas and employing programmatic advertising’s wide reach across different channels and devices. 

Streamlining the ad selling and buying process

Programmatic advertising streamlines the whole ad selling and buying process by automating the negotiation, sale, and placement of ads. For publishers, this means selling ad spaces more efficiently, access to a broader range of advertisers, and the ability to fill inventory quickly and effectively. 

By reducing the time and resources spent managing ad sales, publishers can focus more on content creation and other critical aspects of their business while also maximizing their ad revenue through precise targeting and real-time bidding.

The Challenges of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising, while highly efficient and scalable, faces some challenges like:

  1. Ad fraud and viewability. Sophisticated bots and fraudulent techniques, such as domain spoofing, inflate ad impressions and clicks, leading to wasted ad spend and diminished ROI. Possible solutions include advanced detection tools to identify and prevent fraud.
  1. Data privacy. The extensive use of personal data for targeting raises privacy concerns. Compliance with regulations like GDPR and CCPA is crucial, and the industry is adapting to privacy-friendly practices, such as contextual targeting and the use of data management platforms.
  1. Brand safety. Automated ad placements can accidentally place ads next to inappropriate content, harming brand reputation. Mitigation strategies include using whitelists/blacklists, contextual targeting, and partnering with reputable networks.
  1. Complexity and transparency. The evolving landscape can be overwhelming, with new technologies and platforms emerging constantly. Publishers seek simplicity, easy integration, and transparency.
  1. Ad blockers. Users seeking a cleaner browsing experience increasingly use ad blockers, which reduces visibility and impacts metrics. Non-intrusive ad formats, like native ads, offer a solution by aligning ads with the user’s content experience.

Key Features to Look for in Programmatic Advertising Platforms

Finding the right programmatic advertising platform isn’t just about ad optimization. It’s also about how they can help elevate your website’s performance, ensuring that both ads and content load quickly and smoothly. This synergy sustains revenue gains and secures a superior user experience, keeping your audience returning for more. 

Essentially, a platform that grows with you optimizing your ad spaces and website health is the cornerstone of sustainable digital success. Here are 5 key features you should look for in programmatic advertising platforms: 

1. Real-time bidding (RTB) 

RTB allows for automatically buying and selling ad inventory in real-time auctions.

This capability ensures that publishers maximize their ad revenue by selling each ad impression to the highest bidder based on advertisers’ instant demand.

2. Data management and audience targeting 

Effective data management and advanced audience targeting enable publishers to offer valuable inventory to advertisers. By better understanding their audience, publishers can segment their ad space to attract higher bids from advertisers seeking to reach specific demographics or behaviors.

3. Integration and compatibility with existing systems

Seamless integration ensures the programmatic advertising platform works efficiently with the publisher’s existing website or app infrastructure. 

Compatibility reduces the risk of technical issues disrupting ad serving or the user experience, ensuring a smooth operation and sustained ad revenue.

4. Transparency and control over ad inventory

Publishers need transparency to see which ads are placed on their site and control to decide which ads are acceptable. 

This ensures the integrity of the website or app is maintained, protecting the user experience and the publisher’s brand while also allowing publishers to optimize their inventory for maximum revenue.

5. Reporting and analytics tools

Access to detailed reporting and analytics tools allows publishers to track the performance of their ad inventory in real time. 

This data is crucial for making informed decisions about pricing, ad placement, and audience targeting. It enables publishers to optimize their ad strategy continuously for better performance and higher revenue.

Top Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Publishers in 2024

1. Setupad

Setupad is an analytics-driven monetization platform that empowers publishers to unlock their maximum ad revenue potential with header bidding.

  • Header bidding, or pre-bidding or prebid, enables publishers to simultaneously offer their ad inventory to many demand partners like Google through SSPs and ad exchanges.

As a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP) and an official Prebid member, Setupad stands out with its advanced ad technology stack. It includes a proprietary ad server, 11 server-to-server integrations, 31 premium demand partners, and sophisticated impression-level optimization between programmatic and direct sales.

Setupad Adsense alternative

Setupad’s hybrid header bidding solution combines multiple SSPs, increasing competition and enabling publishers to sell impressions at the highest possible price. Compared to Google AdSense, publishers can expect a guaranteed ad revenue boost of at least 30%, with many clients experiencing even greater increases. 

Last but not least, Setupad offers various header bidding and Google AdX integrations to accommodate publishers of all sizes, including AdSense publishers, enterprise publishers, and those who prefer maintaining control over their inventory.

Key features and technologies

Setupad Header Bidding WrapperA tag-based prebid.js monetization solution connecting publishers’ ad space with top demand partners, facilitating easy implementation and running a hybrid prebid.js auction.
Setupad Prebid Manage Account Enables to upgrade your AdSense earnings with access to GAM and Google AdX, including optimized price floors and PMP campaigns.
Setupad Prebid AdSense Enables to combine AdSense demand with Setupad’s Prebid demand from premium SSPs in real-time auctions, maximizing ad revenue.
Setupad PrebidCustomized prebid.js software optimizing direct campaigns with programmatic demand partners, connecting all ad space for increased ad revenue.
Setupad Prebid Self-ServeA user-friendly platform to manage direct SSP connections and daily optimization tasks, giving publishers control over ad inventory monetization.
Setupad Consent Management Platform (CMP)Ensures compliance with user consent collection through a transparent CMP tool.
Setupad WordPress PluginDesigned to manage and optimize inventory effectively with features like flexible ad placements, device targeting, ads.txt management, lazy-load ad placements, tracking, ad alignment, related posts section, and revenue maximization.

Benefits for publishers

Publishers can benefit from full technical support from our experts and receive:

  • Advice on choosing the best-performing ad placements and sizes; 
  • Protection from malvertising;
  • Recommendations tailored to their website. 

This level of support eliminates publishers’ need for extensive experience with programmatic advertising. 

Setupad is also known for having one of the lightest header bidding codes in the market, which significantly enhances website performance and loading speed. A lighter header bidding code means less strain on your website’s resources when loading ads, leading to faster page load times for users.


To become a Setupad partner, you must:

  • Comply with the Setupad quality policy 
  • Have significant traffic (100K+ visitors per month) 
  • Agree to paste ads.txt onto your website and use all Setupad demand sources, including Google

Payment details 

Payment threshold: $100

Payment type: Net 60 

Payment methods: bank transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, Wise, Revolut, Paysera

2. The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk is a programmatic advertising ad exchange platform and is considered one of the largest DSPs in the world. 

The Trade Desk provides access to RTB, private marketplaces, geo-targeting, budget management, and more. Additionally, it offers a range of features to enhance audience targeting and comprehensive reporting to analyze publishers’ ad campaigns. 



You need to have an account with The Trade Desk.

Payment details 

It’s a pay-as-you-go model with no long-term commitments or minimums. They offer flat fee pricing for larger campaigns and volume discounts for high-volume buyers.

3. AdReact

Adreact specializes in monetization solutions, including display, video, and in-app advertising. Its dedicated team of experts has over 6 years of global experience. 

Adreact focuses on solving publishers’ technical challenges and offers a range of valuable products and services, such as content management systems, hosting, video players, ad layout optimization tools, and social media management tools. 


Payment details 

Payment threshold: 150$

Payment type: Net 30 

Payment methods: bank wire, Payoneer, PayPal, Bitcoin, TransferWise

4. Yieldbird

Yieldbird is a global company specializing in ad management and ad inventory optimization. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, it serves clients in more than 30 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. 

Yieldbird helps independent and corporate publishers maximize their revenue through programmatic strategies. Yieldbird assists over 250 publishers in optimizing and improving their ad monetization. 


Yieldbird prefers websites with 10,000 or more page views per month. The publisher’s site must comply with Google’s ad placement and content policies. 


Payment details

Payment threshold: 50$

Payment type: Net 30 (AdX), Net 65 (other SSPs)

Payment method: PayPal and bank transfers

5. Snigel

Snigel is a premium ad monetization solution founded by former Google executives. It offers publishers a fully customized ad setup and strategy, personalized support, and advanced AI-powered optimization. 

With dedicated ad tech experts and a commitment to tailored solutions, Snigel helps publishers elevate their ad revenue by prioritizing fast page load times and positive user experiences. It primarily serves large publishers but considers sites with high-quality content or significant growth potential. 



Snigel evaluates websites generating approximately $50 USD per day. However, they may consider assessing websites below this threshold but with growth potential or high-quality content.

They require a minimum traffic of 100k monthly page views (ideally with 20% or more of your traffic from tier 1 geographic locations).

Payment details

No lock-in contracts.

Payment threshold: Snigel takes a 20% service fee from your ad revenue

Payment type: Net 30 

Payment method: Wire Transfer, Transferwise

6. Ezoic

Ezoic is a monetization company that uses AI and machine learning to optimize ad placements. Its ad optimization process uses data to select the best layouts, boosting engagement and revenue. Based on website size, it offers comprehensive support and is a popular choice for bloggers and marketers looking to scale their monetization strategies.



Monetization features are available to all sites. 

Ezoic has removed pageview requirements, but sites with less than 10,000 pageviews must join through a program “Access Now.”

Payment details 

Payment threshold: 20$

Payment type: Net 30, Net 60, Net 90 (with Net 60 or Net 90, you can get a bonus from Ezoic, which is calculated based on your monthly earnings)

Payment methods: direct bank transfer (Payoneer), PayPal, check

7. MonetizeMore

MonetizeMore is a GCPP and monetization platform that connects publishers with advertisers to help them effectively monetize their content. It offers various services, including ad inventory management, optimization, header bidding, and programmatic advertising. 

MonetizeMore has been maximizing publishers’ revenue since 2010. They provide real-time reporting and analytics to give publishers a clear view of their ad performance and revenue.



To get started with MonetizeMore, pageviews don’t matter, but the primary requirement is that monthly ad revenue is at least $1,000.

Payment details

MonetizeMore offers publishers a revenue share model, and it shows your revenue share numbers in its monthly reporting. The customer should pay the equivalent of 20% of the total monthly AdX revenue fees.

Payment threshold: $100

Payment type: Net 30 

Payment method: PayPal, ACH transactions, wire transfer

8. OptAd360

OptAd360 is a company that supports publishers with solutions to monetize their content effectively. They’re the first European company recognized as GCPP, and they strive to provide high-quality services in increasing income from programmatic advertising.

In 2022, they acquired Bidlogic technology to deliver improved monetization solutions tailored to mobile game developers. 



Optad360 requires at least 50,000 monthly page views. The site must follow Google content policies and publisher guidelines, and the app should be running for at least three months.

To monetize an app, it should have at least 50,000 downloads.

Payment details

Payment threshold: 100$

Payment type: Net 30 

Payment method: PayPal, Wire transfer, Payoneer

9. Magnite 

Magnite, formerly known as Rubicon Project, is a digital advertising platform that helps publishers and advertisers manage and optimize their programmatic advertising campaigns. It grants publishers access to PMPs, programmatic guaranteed, and real-time auction deals.

Additionally, Magnite manages audience data and enables customized reports in real-time. It supports omnichannel advertising, monetizes live streams, and handles various programmatic deals.



You must adhere to Inventory Quality Guidelines. Your site cannot promote illegal content or violate laws. 

Payment details

Pricing varies depending on the services and solutions required.

10. AdPushup

AdPushup is a comprehensive ad network and revenue optimization platform designed to assist publishers in maximizing their advertising revenue. AdPushup focuses on ad optimization and revenue maximization for publishers. 

One standout feature is their pro-user adblock monetization solution, which helps publishers recover lost revenue caused by blocked ads. As a GCPP and an IAB Member, AdPushup brings credibility and industry recognition to their services.



To partner with Adpushup, publishers need a minimum of $5,000 monthly revenue.

Payment details 

Payment threshold: $50

Payment type: Net 45

Payment method: PayPal, Wire transfer

Best Practices for Publishers Using Programmatic Advertising

Optimizing ad inventory for maximum revenue

It’s important to balance ad optimization with user experience. Too many ads, especially intrusive ones, can deter visitors, while too few may mean missed revenue opportunities. 

Consider ad formats that blend seamlessly with your content. Native ads, for example, offer a less disruptive experience, encouraging higher engagement rates without sacrificing aesthetics or user comfort.

Moreover, the speed and efficiency of your site shouldn’t take a backseat. In a world where a millisecond delay can lead to significant bounce rates, ensuring your website remains fast, even with ads, is non-negotiable. 

This is where choosing a long-term programmatic partner can be beneficial. Look for a platform that doesn’t just excel in ad optimization but also pays heed to your website’s overall performance, like Setupad.

website speed Creative

After all, what good is a high-performing ad on a low-quality website?

Ensuring data privacy and compliance

In programmatic advertising, data informs the real-time bidding algorithms that decide which ads to show to which users. This data can come from various sources, including cookies, device IDs, and third-party data identifiers. Publishers frequently use data management platforms to handle, organize, and use this data.

To ensure compliance with various privacy legislations, publishers’ websites must use Consent Management Platforms (CMP) that comply with the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF).

Effective audience targeting

You should analyze how your current audience interacts with ads and identify the characteristics of those who convert or engage the most. Use this data to target new users who share similar attributes with your best-performing segments, effectively reaching lookalike audiences more likely to be interested in your content or offers. 

Summary and Key Takeaways

Programmatic advertising has truly changed the game in the ad tech world, making things faster, smarter, and way more targeted than traditional advertising ever could. It introduced efficiency, precision targeting, and RTB, outpacing traditional methods with data for smarter ad placements.

Programmatic advertising offers publishers a dynamic way to maximize ad revenue through automated sales.

However, choosing the right programmatic advertising platform as a partner is an important step. It streamlines the entire ad management process and can provide invaluable support in enhancing website performance. It’s about teaming up with someone who understands the big picture—increasing ad revenue while running your website smoothly.

Programmatic advertising goes beyond merely embracing new technology. It’s a transformation that unlocks unparalleled revenue potential and audience engagement for publishers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between programmatic direct and RTB?

Programmatic direct is a method where ad inventory is bought and sold directly between publishers and advertisers. It offers fixed pricing and guaranteed ad placements, offering more control over the ad buying process. RTB involves an auction where ad inventory is bought and sold in real-time on a per-impression basis, with prices fluctuating based on demand.

How can publishers ensure data privacy while using programmatic platforms?

Publishers can ensure data privacy on programmatic platforms by adhering to data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA, using privacy-compliant DMPs, and implementing consent management tools to collect user consent. Regularly auditing data practices and working with reputable programmatic partners can help maintain high privacy standards.

What are the latest trends in programmatic advertising for publishers?

Current trends in programmatic advertising for publishers include the increased use of AI and machine learning for improved ad targeting and optimization, the rise of CTV as an advertising platform, a shift towards first-party data due to privacy regulations.

How can small publishers benefit from programmatic advertising?

Small publishers can benefit from programmatic advertising by partnering with a programmatic platform, thus accessing a broader range of advertisers, leading to higher ad revenues. Programmatic platforms also provide small publishers the tools to compete more effectively, offering sophisticated targeting and optimization capabilities previously available only to larger players.

Tips for negotiating better rates with programmatic platforms

Publishers should focus on showcasing the quality and uniqueness of their audience and using data and analytics to demonstrate the value of their inventory. It’s also beneficial to build solid relationships with demand partners and diversify programmatic demand sources.

About Anete Jodzevica
Anete is a content marketing specialist at Setupad. In addition to writing articles, she works at gathering information, verifying data, and explaining complex concepts to others. Anete believes that simplicity is the key to brilliance.

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